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Painting the Milwaukee music scene

You may have seen Kristina Rolander and her family at a local concert. She has been to so many, she started a hashtag for her Instagram account #alloftheshows.

Over the past year, Rolander has been getting even closer to the music - she's painting handmade backdrops in collaboration with her favorite performers. Radio Milwaukee spoke with the artist about how she got involved, her inspiration and her upcoming pieces and where you can see them.


How did you get into making backdrops?

This kind of just exploded into something I’ve had to learn with each backdrop and a lot of it was me approaching the acts and saying, “Hey, I really love your music and I really believe in you. I’ve been to so many of your shows. Let’s make a backdrop because it will basically enhance the live performance, adding these visuals to it.”

Where do you find inspiration for the installations?

I try to listen to the music, to get a feel for the band and look at what they’ve done in the past, look at their style, their fashion. I’ll source ideas and images from that to come up with the concept.

When I found installation, I felt like I had found my calling.

You have a background in visual art, how did you transition into making art for performances?

I have a printmaking degree, which is very archaic. But it taught me how to layer color, to play with color and I used that time to really focus on installation.

Sometimes people will ask me to participate in gallery shows, but they never felt satisfying because they felt like art for artists. When I found installation, I felt like I had found my calling. As an artist, I’m definitely an advocate of art for everyone. I am attempting to bridge the gap and put art in places people wouldn’t expect it.

People may recognize you and your family from concerts. You are at a lot of them!

I’ve always tried to immerse my kids in music and art and any sort of creative endeavor to show them what is possible.

I introduce them to and they know a lot of the local musicians, they love them, the musicians love them. We bring them to as many shows as we can and for me, especially with my son who is 11 and is a musician, I want to surround him with these positive examples of going for your dream and actually attaining it.

Do you think your work creates connections between the audience and the musicians?

I do want to try to create a sort of interactivity with the audience. Some of the ideas I have, I don’t have the skill sets yet. I would love for some of the lights to be interactive with the audience. Hopefully it excites people to the point they go out to shows themselves and then support these musicians.

You can see Kristina Rolander's newest piece for Dallas band Siamese tomorrow night at Company Brewing.

For more of Rolander's work, find her website HERE and her Instagram account HERE.

Find a gallery of backdrops in progress and in a live setting below: